Wishing everyone the very best of the holiday season! That is the first and foremost thought on my mind. It has been such a challenging year and as we all know the holidays will look very different. Sometimes we have to dig deep to remember all that is good, focus on the positive, and count our blessings for everything for which we have to be thankful. It sounds hokey, I know. I truly believe this. Life is not linear, but more a winding road with hills and valleys. What is it they say about rainy days? That without them, we wouldn’t appreciate the sunshine. Ha, so Andrew is getting all philosophical in this message. My goal is to encourage everyone to soak in the holidays as we always do. And let’s do our best to end this difficult year on a good note! We know that better days are coming!

I hope that you continue to turn to your friends, neighbors, and family during these unusual days. Last time I talked about leaning on your people. Of course, this includes your colleagues and industry friends as well. Thank goodness for these people! Over the years, I have been blessed to make many friends as a direct result of my continued involvement with SMPS. This is my tribe, my extended family. I know many of you feel the same, as you have grown more and more connected to this community over the years. For those of you who are relatively new to SMPS, first of all welcome! Secondly, know that you’re about to gain quite the extended family. We are all in this together, and are all here for each other. It’s pretty fantastic. Don’t know too many of us yet? I’ll be glad to introduce you around! Of course, I know I speak for all members knowing they’d gladly do the same.

Our December Board meeting earlier this month was one in which several themes resulted from some open dialogue and check in with each other on how things were going. As this is an unprecedented year, so too is our chapter’s array of activities. Planned, re-planned, adjusted, and fluid. As each of us – individually, our committees, and as a group – continue to navigate this unusual world, we seem to help fill in the gaps for each other, support, and strengthen efforts as needed. Again, here for each other. This theme was the most apparent and important. As we discussed how information is being disseminated and absorbed more uniquely these days, it has become clear we need to provide more flexibility. Learning at your own pace, when it’s convenient for you. Our charge is to become even more digital, allowing for maximum options for our members to participate and benefit from shared knowledge and expertise. Additionally, we will gear our educational programming to a concerted skills-building direction. Our programming planners are collaborating across our committees more than ever before to bring our membership and community what they need.

Some wonderful events have been planned by our leadership team and committees, and I’m so grateful to see the continued effort to bring a great experience to our members! I hope you were able to join us this past month. On December 1st, our NJ Affiliate hosted the latest in their series of Knowledge Sharing sessions which focused on public relations planning and activities. On December 3rd, we celebrated the holidays with a fantastic virtual party, with song, ugly sweaters, breakout sessions, and raffle prizes. A great time was had by all! On December 10th, our Leadership Committee and Mentor Program co-hosted Visionary Leadership – Leading your Virtual Teams to be Effective in 2021, which was excellent. Our latest SMPS-NY Virtual Meet & Greet was held on December 16th. Always love the opportunity to network with other chapter members (and those interested to learn more about SMPS!), and have a chance to get to know some guest speakers!

Here’s a preview of what’s to come after the New Year! Please join us for our New Year’s Spirits with the SMPS-NY NJ Affiliate on January 6th! Then later in the month on January 28th, our next SMPS-NY Virtual Meet & Greet will be held. And be sure not to miss Working Where We Are, with a terrific panel to discuss all the different ways we are currently working and how we’re adapting, on February 17th. I can’t wait to hear from these folks! Learning from each other, our peers, and sharing our challenges and successes, is a huge benefit of our SMPS programming and community. I’m so glad you are a part of it! Whatever you are celebrating this time of year, know you are in our thoughts and hearts. Have a wonderful and very Happy New Year! And see you in 2021!